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World Hand Hygiene Day: Learn how to wash your hands and save lives

Practise effective hand hygiene to prevent infections by learning how to wash your hands properly with Bloom Financial Services and Health4Me.

Practising effective hand hygiene is a simple and low-cost intervention method that can protect your health and others. Handwashing can lower the rate of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, which is especially relevant given the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Since the pandemic outbreak, governments and healthcare organisations across the globe have advocated for better hygiene practices, like handwashing.

Health insurance broker Bloom Financial Services and partner Momentum support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Hand Hygiene Day and provide some insight about effective, mindful and consistent hygiene techniques you can adopt to prevent infections.

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What is World Hand Hygiene Day?

The WHO first launched World Hand Hygiene Day in 2009 to promote awareness and create improved hygiene methods around the world. The campaign is recognised annually on 5 May, and this year’s theme is ‘achieving hand hygiene at the point of care’. This means that the WHO aims to target healthcare workers and facilities dealing with patients and vulnerable individuals to decrease infection risk drastically. To achieve this, the WHO is advocating for healthcare workers to perform hand hygiene at the right time and in the most effective manner using their Multimodal Hand Hygiene Improvement Strategy.

What is hand hygiene?

What is hand hygiene exactly? This is the mindful and consistent practice of cleaning your hands by using effective handwashing techniques. It’s a primary intervention method for reducing the risk of transmitting infection between people and is especially relevant given the serious nature of Covid-19 infection rates. In addition to handwashing, it is also advisable to use alcohol-based hand sanitisers (those containing at least 60%-95% alcohol) to kill any germs or microorganisms that may still be present on your skin.

Hand hygiene is particularly relevant for healthcare workers as hand washing can prevent up to 50% of avoidable infections. It is also cost-effective, with hand hygiene policies expected to save on the costs of treating additional patients who would have been infected otherwise.

The five moments of hand hygiene

The five moments of hand hygiene refers to the WHO’s recommended sequence and timing for healthcare workers to follow when dealing with patients in a healthcare facility. The system of hand washing or cleaning one’s hands can be explained in the following order:
  1. Before touching a patient
  2. Before applying a cleaning or aseptic procedure on the patient
  3. Directly after a body fluid exposure risk
  4. Directly after touching a patient
  5. After touching one’s immediate surroundings

How to wash your hands

It may seem like a simple task, but many people are unsure about the correct way to wash their hands. Learn how to wash your hands properly using this effective hand washing method:
  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water
  2. Apply the soap to your hands
  3. Lather the soap by rubbing your hands together
  4. Scrub all areas of your hands, including the fingers, fingernails, palms and wrists
  5. Spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands properly
  6. Rinse your hands under clean, running water
  7. Dry your hands with a clean towel
  8. Apply an alcohol-based sanitiser

Show your support for World Hand Hygiene Day

Help spread the word about World Hand Hygiene Day with the WHO by pledging your support for their 2021 campaign: Save Lives Clean Your Hands.
  1. Use your personal social media channels to help raise awareness about the drive by using the hashtags #HandHygiene #CleanYourHands #InfectionPrevention.
  2. Join the global conversation on 5 May to tweet about the importance of hand hygiene.
  3. You can also send in photos or videos of you, your friends or colleagues performing safe hand washing techniques to CleanHandsSaveLives.org.

Get day-to-day health insurance cover with Health4Me

Having access to quality healthcare is essential in today’s uncertain health climate. Health insurance offers you numerous benefits and has the advantage of being more cost-effective than a medical aid policy without compromising on the quality of care you can receive. Discover more about Health4Me health insurance plans. Monthly premiums for Health4Me Bronze starts at just R447 per month.

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“Bloom Financial Services and Health4Me encourages healthy lifestyle habits, like practising effective hand hygiene, that will protect you from infection. Be mindful and consistent when it comes to the proper handwashing techniques.” - John Kruger, managing director of Bloom Financial Services

Ensure you’re covered for medical services from a private healthcare facility and day-to-day healthcare cover by getting health insurance. Contact Bloom Financial Services to speak to a consultant about the range of Health4Me health insurance plans.
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